Sept. 12, 2009

Courtesy of Florida

TAMPA, Fla. – The No. 3/3 University of Washington volleyball team turned in a complete effort, holding No. 4/4 Florida to an .067 hitting efficiency, to post a 3-0 win (25-17, 25-10, 25-19) win against the Gators on Saturday in the Tampa Twice Tournament, hosted by the University of South Florida at its Sun Dome.

The Gators (6-1) were led for the fourth consecutive match by sophomore outside hitter Colleen Ward (Naperville, Ill.), who turned in a team-high seven kills to complement two blocks for a squad-best 8.0 points. Washington (8-0) posted its eighth consecutive sweep of the season with the victory.

The Huskies hit .359 in the match and out-blocked the Gators 7.0-4.0.
Washington also had three players record double-figure dig performances.

“What makes Washington so good, besides how talented they are, is that they make very few mistakes,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “Their numbers all season and their numbers today reflect that. There is a huge gap right now between how Washington played today and where the Gators are today. Our goal is to get back to work, starting tomorrow, and to narrow that gap so that the next time we play a team as talented as Washington, we will be in the match.”

Sophomore right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) added six kills and tied junior setter Brynja Rodgers (Iowa City, Iowa) with a team-high 12 assists. Sophomore middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) led Florida in blocks with three.

Senior libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.), who has posted double-figure digs in each of the team’s matches this season and ranks No. 4 on the Southeastern Conference’s all-time career digs list, recorded a squad-best 13 digs in the match.

Sophomore outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) added nine digs and four kills for the Gators.

The two teams battled evenly to begin the opening set before back-to-back kills by Washington’s Becky Perry and Jill Collymore gave the Huskies an early 8-6 advantage. Trailing 11-8, Florida got a kill from Ward and benefitted from a ball-handling error by Washington to cut within one at 11-10.

Still ahead by one at 12-11, Washington scored three points in a row to go up 15-11 and force Wise to burn a timeout. That was the beginning of a 12-2 run by Washington, which reached set point at 24-13. Florida staved off four attempts at match point before the Huskies’ Airial Salvo recorded a kill to give UW a 25-17 first-set win.

Washington raced out to a 4-1 lead in the second set before a kill by Jaeckel stopped the scoring streak. Following that kill, the Huskies ran off seven consecutive points leading into a Florida timeout to go up 11-2. The Gators twice cut within seven, the last at 14-6 on an illegal rotation call against Washington. That was the beginning of a 7-0 run that extended the Huskies’ lead to 19-6. Washington continued on to a 25-10 second-set victory.

The Gators used two kills from Murphy and a pair of blocks to jump out to an early 4-1 advantage in the third set. With Florida head by three,
5-2 after a Murphy kill, back-to-back Gator attack errors brought Washington to within one, 5-4. The Huskies kept rallying to knot the score at 6-6. An ace by Collymore and a kill by the Huskies put them in front 8-6. Back-to-back put-downs by Jaeckel again knotted the score, this time at 8-8.

With Washington leading 10-9 after a Johnson kill, the Huskies ran off two in a row to go back up by three, 12-9. UW kept rolling to a 14-10 advantage heading into a Florida timeout. With the Huskies ahead 18-11, the Gators scored two in a row after a Murphy kill and an attack error by Collymore to cut within five, 18-13. The two teams traded points to put Washington up 22-15 before senior Kristina Johnson Ind.) notched a kill and Rodgers followed with an ace. Continuing to trade points, the Huskies took a 25-19 win in the third set.

Florida returns to action on Friday when it opens Southeastern Conference play at Ole Miss. Opening serve is set for 8 p.m. ET and the match will be carried live on ROCK 104 FM with Cory Stephens.